….said Patrick Hamilton, one of the best, underrated authors I’m rediscovering this week. I’ve been watching Lonely Britain on C4 news and the piece on motherhood reminded me of my own experience. Hours of pushing pram and pushchair – the same experiences repeated, usually starting early. Coggs Farm Museum where I bought a pass so I could visit literally every day, and usually did. I’d show my daughter pigs and ponies with false enthusiasm (look at the world, isn’t it exciting?) only to find she was looking down at her dummy with scrutiny or asleep. So I would do the same things: watch a lady make scones in the Victorian kitchen, look at the hens scratching around in the sheds, crane my neck to see the pigs (barely visible over the wall), have a cup of milky tea in the cafe, buy a baby puree of some kind and then walk (the long way) home. One day I discovered Patrick Hamilton in Waterstones in Witney. I was so gripped I bought everything and then sent my family his books as presents. I wasn’t depressed at all by his writing, quite the opposite. He didn’t once pretend that life was a long, gleeful social success. Rather it can be a series of events that sometimes happen to you, sometimes, even, against your will. I detest the view that we’re all the makers of our own destiny and luck. People get left, people get abused, unfair things happen every day and we do not deserve them. What we make of these experiences can be in our own hands, and pens. Thank goodness in the case of Patrick H.
I have been reading Bird-Woman this week by the very talented and lovely Em Strang. I would recommend it to everyone. I’ve also been reading Autumn by Ali Smith – meant to be the first post-Brexit novel. Some of it is good, but there’s a cobbled-together quality. I like the main character’s admiration for Pauline Boty and the descriptions of her artwork though.
I got two poems accepted this week by Sentinel Literary Quarterly. I love the magazine and was very happy they found two of my poems that fit in with the style. I’ve been writing a bit. Mainly about lakes and nature and historical events (such as the Great Fire of London) but they all get processed and come out looking very differently to how they usually appear in fact, like through the filters of a dream. I haven’t much time to do anything writing-wise though and it’s driving me mad. The evenings are as practically packed as the working day. I would love to go to an open mike poetry event, see a band, join a writing group…the barrier is when?! After work, travel, child, tea it’s about 9pm and i’m fit for nothing. Carpe diem and all that, but which diem to do it in? I enjoyed putting the Christmas tree up today though and felt a bit more festive. The robins are still stealing food from the rabbit bowl, despite the full bird table.